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Man City go top of EPL, Chelsea held

Manchester City thrashed Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 to go one point clear at the top of the table.

Manchester City's forward, Edin Dzeko, celebrates after scoring against Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League on 29 January 2014. Picture: Facebook.

LONDON - Manchester City's all-guns blazing approach to scoring fired them to the top of the Premier League when they routed Tottenham Hotspur for the second time in two months with a 5-1 win at White Hart Lane on Wednesday.

Coach Manuel Pellegrini described their performance as "maybe the best we have played all season" and Spurs coach Tim Sherwood said he thought he had just watched the champions.

City, who have scored 115 goals this season and are unbeaten in their last 20 matches, were unstoppable and Spurs were powerless to gain any revenge for their 6-0 annihilation in Manchester in November.

"Maybe that was the best we have played all season. We played against a good team in a good moment also, and we scored five goals in their stadium," Pellegrini told reporters.

Sherwood, beaten for the first time in the league since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas last month, said the club would appeal against Danny Rose's sending-off before Yaya Toure's penalty which did little to change the course of the match.

The only blot for City on a windswept night in north London was a hamstring injury suffered by Sergio Aguero, who opened the scoring with a brilliantly executed angled shot after 15 minutes.

City totally dominated with second half goals from Toure, from the penalty spot, Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic and Vincent Kompany giving City their second 5-1 win at Spurs in three seasons.

Etienne Capoue, who could have played his last game for Spurs ahead of a possible move to Napoli, briefly gave Spurs a glimmer of hope when he made it 3-1 after 59 minutes, but City were the better team from the first to the last kick.

Meanwhile, Manchester City will bid to extend their perfect Premier League home record this season when they defend top spot against third-placed Chelsea on Monday.

The big clash at the Etihad, where City have scored 42 goals in 11 league wins this season, will be a prelude of the team's FA Cup fifth-round tie at the same stadium in mid-February.

Former leaders Arsenal, who dropped two points in 2-2 draw at Southampton on Tuesday and are now one behind City, face improving Crystal Palace at home on Sunday in a rarely-played derby between the two London sides.

Arsenal have lost three times against Palace in 34 matches since they first met 80 years ago and while they should beat them again as they usually do, Palace have become far more resilient since Tony Pulis became manager in November.

Palace were bottom when Pulis arrived but are now 14th, five points clear of the relegation zone after losing only one of their last four league games.

Liverpool strengthened their claims for a top-four finish for the first time since 2009 when they crushed Everton 4-0 in the Merseyside derby on Tuesday and look capable of extending their unbeaten six-match run when they travel to 15th-placed West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

England international Daniel Sturridge has returned after injury with five goals in four matches including two against Everton, while Luis Suarez, who scored a hat-trick against West Brom in a 4-1 win at Anfield in October, will be looking to inflict more damage and add to his 23 league goals.

Everton, who have slipped from fourth to sixth in the last two weeks, will be looking for a quick return to form against erratic Aston Villa, but will have to look elsewhere for goals following top scorer Romelu Lukaku's ankle injury against Liverpool which could sideline him for weeks.

Tottenham visit Hull City for the third meeting between the teams this season following Spurs' 1-0 victory in the League and their 8-7 penalty shootout win in the Capital One Cup after a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane.

Hull, who lost 1-0 at Palace on Tuesday, have never beaten Spurs at their KC Stadium, and will be looking to end a streak of four successive Premier League defeats, their worst run of the season.

Manchester United, boosted by the arrival of £37.1 million club record signing Juan Mata who had a fine debut in the 2-0 win over basement club Cardiff City on Tuesday, face another old favourite on Saturday.

They make the short trip to Stoke City, managed by ex-United striker Mark Hughes, for the second time in five weeks after winning a Capital One Cup quarter-final there 2-0 last month.

Stoke badly need a win after no victories in eight league matches, a run which has seen them slip from 10th to 16th in the last month, while seventh-placed United need to close the gap on the top four.

The weekend kicks off with the always fiercely passionate north-east derby between Newcastle United and Sunderland, who are looking to complete a league double over Newcastle for the first time since 1966-67.

In the weekend's other matches, Cardiff City host Norwich City, struggling Fulham entertain Southampton and West Ham are at home to Swansea.

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